24 Dec 2013

Forecasters say southern Cooks Islands drought now critical

3:18 pm on 24 December 2013

Weather forecasters in the Cook Islands say a drought affecting parts of the Southern group has reached a critical stage on some islands.

The Meteorological Service says weather patterns in the Cook Islands are a mixed bag, with rain in the northern group of islands and drought in the eastern part of the southern Cooks.

The Director for the Met Service, Arona Ngari, says there has been insufficient rain for three to six months on Mangaia, Aitutaki and the Nga pu toru islands including Mitiaro and Mauke.

"Some precautionary measures have been sent across to them like distillers or some water pumps, some quality check for water that can be used to purify water from the bore holes. So it's pretty critical and people are starting to come to grips with the situation."

Arona Ngari says while downpours are predicted to fall in Rarotonga over the next two days, the dry spell is expected to continue for the drought-affected islands until February.